Railways will spend Rs 1,490 crore in refunding 94 lakh train ticket bookings it had to cancel because of the lockdown extension till May 3. Earlier, it had refunded the tickets booked prior to the lockdown on March 25.
Top Railways officials told PTI an amount of Rs 830 crore will be refunded for 55 lakh bookings made for travel between March 22 and April 14, as the Railways had suspended services on March 22, three days before the lockdown. Another Rs 660 crore will be returned for around 39 lakh bookings made for travel between April 15 and May 3, they said.
After the lockdown was extended to May 3, Railways said that all passengers would get a full refund for tickets booked for journeys after April 14 and till the lockdown deadline all train services would be suspended. It also said the refund amount will be automatically given back to customers who booked tickets through online platforms, while those who had physically booked the tickets can claim the refund from the reservation counters till July 31.
Railways said no advance reservation of train tickets, including e-tickets, will be allowed until further orders by the government. The facility of online cancellation of tickets would still be available.
Railways said a full refund would be available for people who wish to cancel their train tickets booked for journeys after May 3.
Railways is also drawing flack from people on social media who say that the national transporter has not refunded the convenience fee it charges for online transactions. "When train is cancelled, the passenger is refunded full fare. Convenience fees is not refunded which are nominal to an individual and used for day-to-day maintenance and upgradation of the ticketing facility," the railways explained in a statement.
Indian Railways, through its subsidiary Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), charges a nominal convenience fee of Rs 15 per ticket for booking non-AC travel and Rs 30 for AC and first-class tickets.